Mid-year Cybersecurity Trends Review: What You Need to Know to Mitigate Risk


The focus should be on the basic requirements in 2016 and the more complex derived security controls in 2017.

Maria Horton is CEO of EmeSec, a company supporting customers in adopting the cybersecurity and risk mitigation best practices they need to build competitive advantage in today’s connected world.

Halfway through 2016, it is safe to say the cyber phrase of the year is likely to be “regulatory compliance.” It is interesting the focus is on liability (corporate and personal) as the sheer volume, diversity and complexity of cyberthreats accelerate.

Regulatory compliance is not just a government issue.

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As commercial companies look to offer innovation to their customers, their operations and security resources must address in both a proactive and responsive manner the mandates of controlled, unclassified information, cybersecurity framework requirements and human resource challenges. The result is more pressure on internal operations and resources.

Distributed Security Takes Center Stage

Until recently, only large, geographically dispersed enterprises needed to create security plans that capture distributed systems, mobile workforce and endpoints.

However, with the accelerated adoption of public and private clouds, even small and mid-sized businesses need to plan for their security strategy as if they were distributed enterprises.

This includes understanding organizational and vendor-based cloud-hosting data protection. Distributed security also means identifying liability rules from both a holistic and granular view of system, its boundaries and preparing for incident response strategies that bridge those boundaries.

To adequately prepare, we encourage businesses to invest in cyber crisis planning, proactive reputational protection and damage prevention, as well as incident response operations and training that address the distributed organizational data and information.

New Security Compliance Requirements in the Spotlight

Many commercial entities, including government contractors and suppliers, need to closely monitor newly released and upcoming National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity standards to ensure they comply with the latest security requirements.

In addition to established compliance requirements like the Federal Information Security Management Act and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, new requirements include compliance with NIST SP 800-171 to meet controlled, unclassified information and controlled technical information requirements.  

Without the proper preparation of business processes, employee training, third-party SLAs, etc., your business may face the multiple costs of noncompliance.

The focus should be on the basic requirements in 2016 and the more complex derived security controls in 2017.

Benefits of Matching Internal IT and Outsourcing

Your company’s cybersecurity strategy should not be predicated solely on the IT department’s technology decisions. Needless to say, the IT organization needs to be able to respond to new threats and adopt best practices however cybersecurity connected to your business and go-to-market message need to be reviewed to determine liabilities in case of a breach, potential areas of data ownership concerns, etc.

The benefit of independent auditors and compliance officers is the transparency and objectivity to emerging standards and blind spots of IT or governance.  

For many organizations, the use of outsourced chief information security officer-as-a-service and other capabilities is becoming the risk mitigation strategy of choice– providing validation as well as a fresh perspective to meeting the due diligence requirements demanded by boards and customers.